MSCF Awards $7,000 Grant to Boys & Girls Club of Bristol from New Fund

Ann Gudegast, a lifelong resident of Bristol who spent much of her youth at the Bristol Girls Club decided to establish the Ann Gudegast Fund for the Bristol Boys & Girls Club at Main Street Community Foundation in 2023. At the Bristol Girls Club, she developed friendships, attended summer camp, and learned to cook and sew. Both of her parents worked, so living close by to the Club gave her the opportunity to benefit from the many programs they offered. Ann has stated that, “Of all the things I’ve been grateful for in my life, one of them would definitely be the Girls Club.”

Ann wanted to leave a legacy that would provide the same help and opportunities she was given when she was growing up. This designated fund will provide an annual grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Bristol (BGCB) in support of programs and services that will assist young women and girls in developing healthy lifestyles, including nutrition, self-confidence, financial literacy, education attainment and participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning opportunities.

The inaugural grant awarded to the BGCB from the Fund totaled $7,000 and was celebrated on March 13th with a check presentation. This first grant will support programs like the BGCB’s “SMART Girls: Giving Girls Confidence Program.” This program welcomes girls ages 8-12 to participate in ten sessions of activities and experiences that equip them with critical knowledge and skills in the areas of physical health and wellness, mental health, self-esteem, academics, careers, and building positive relationships. In addition to the small-group sessions that encourage the girls to express their individuality through discussions, hands-on activities, and role-plays, the girls also get to enjoy specially selected field trips that explore opportunities that would benefit youth participants, like the Bristol Police Department, Bristol Fire Department, and other local community partners.

With the landscape of childhood changing so dramatically over the last generation, programs like these are integral to helping young girls find purpose and confidence. Thanks to Ann Gudegast’s generosity, the Boys & Girls Club of Bristol will be able to ensure programming and services like the SMART Girls program will be able to reach and educate girls far into the future.